Where #IdleNoMore began

by Aaron Wherry

Jeremy Warren talks to two of the women who started the burgeoning protest movement.

The four moved their conversations about their shared disappointment over federal legislation to a Face-book page created for a small rally at Station 20 West in Saskatoon. The four titled the page Idle No More as a motivational slogan, said Jessica Gordon, one of the local and national organizers.

“We thought it would just be a planning group and we titled the page Idle No More as a way to get our butts off the couch to work on this,” Gordon said in an interview. Gordon, along with Sheelah McLean, Sylvia McAdams and Nina Wilson, may have sparked the Idle No More campaign, but the grassroots movement has taken on a life of its own and spread across the country and beyond its borders with rallies involving thousands of people. Another event is scheduled for Friday in Saskatoon, the same day rallies will be held in Ottawa, L.A. and San Francisco.

“This movement is really important and it’s going to get stronger and better,” Sheelah McLean said. Facebook and Twitter have helped spread the Idle No More movement and allowed organizers to maintain its grassroots beginnings, Gordon said. ”Social media are pushing a lot of the issues,” she said. “People are more aware of the legislation being pushed through undemocratically.”




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Where #IdleNoMore began

    • Thank you! I would never have known about this otherwise!

      I hope this spreads….and I hope others can join in. We have got to solve this problem.

      • Let’s just keep throwing more money at it like we always do……

        • Actually, we’ve tried every solution BUT money.

          Money buys education

          And after what…3 centuries….everybody could use some.

          • Seriously ? You frighten me.

          • If you had some education, you wouldn’t be frightened.

          • That is a rather belligerent assumption on your part. I suspect I have worked far more with First Nations in the real world then you ever have.

          • Then what’s the solution, Bill? You have worked with First Nations, and clearly that experience has made you bitter and ugly about our indigenous peoples deserving any kind of life resembling yours. So instead of beaking off about money, what do you propose?

          • My experience working with first nations was not bitter at all. Please do not put words in my mouth. At times it was very frustrating but it
            could also be rewarding. My point was
            ultimately not to simply dump more money in which has been the solution of
            virtually every Federal government for the past thirty years.

            What is the solution? Guess what. Not ALL First Nations are a failure – some are quite successful, very successful in fact. However our entire focus on First Nations is always about the failures – the Attawapiskat’s – rarely do we ever focus on the First Nations success stories (and there are many) However there is a serious lack of internal capacity on many first nations reserves – poor decision making, frequent nepotism, lack of accountability and on the challenges continues.

            In my view the biggest challenge in most First Nations is a lack of effective and accountable leadership. There is generally no lack of democracy but those who do get elected need better training that is more focussed on governance and administration. Some regulatory changes are also needed within the Indian Act – the other challenge is the Act creates two classes of First Nations members – everyday band members and “locatees” who more often then not are the equivalent of modern day land barons. Too often the band interests are compromised by special interests of locatees and this has to change.

            I could go and on but nobody really cares – for most it is all about playing politics and not finding real solutions and that includes many currently elected First Nations leaders, Chief Spence being one of the biggest currently among them.

          • I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your response. Our current government is not throwing money at any aboriginal problems and has in fact, cut funding across the nation to vital programs and projects, including one that I was working on the past year that was indeed an educational project at the graduate program level.

          • I obviously do not know anything about your specific program but in reality I have come across very few that go beyond creating employment for those who offer the program and those who are sometimes paid to participate Often when the funds “run out” things return to the status quo.

            I am not suggesting that all programs or yours was that way – simply the vast majority of what I came across. Personally I think the focus has to be on young First Nations members in the early 20′s….today’s future young First Nations leaders need to be groomed and given the training and help to lead. I do believe there is a real appetite in this age demographic for change but all too often the status quo prevails

            In far too many bands the band office is the #1 employer and he or she who controls the band office ultimately controls the band. All part of what needs to change. However seldom is there any focus on the internal dynamics of what is wrong. That is none of anyone’s business, so in other words look the other way. Every successful band I have ever encountered has a transparent internal structure where merit and not genealogy is how the bands are run. Sobriety, education, work programs, leadership training are all part of successful bands as are alternative revenue sources. Successful bands figure out that the less you rely on Ottawa the more successful you can be. The most successful first nations leaders in Canada would not have the time nor the inclination to waste their time like Chief Spence is doing right now.

          • You suspect a lot of things Bill, but none of them are true.

          • We cannot all be rocket scientists like you can we ?

          • Don’t mock education, Bill.

            We have a major problem in this country and have done since before confederation. It hasn’t been solved and is never going to be until we make some SMART decisions for a change.

            And we can’t do that without information and education.

            In the meantime we could stop criticizing the human rights records of other countries until we clean up our own act.

          • In my post other above I referenced education.

          • Repeating Harp’s talking points have nothing to do with education.

          • Read what I actually wrote and please show me any “Harper talking points” that parallel what I said. I have never heard Harper advocate the changes or solutions that I think need to be changed. The sad part is that to people like you, everything is a talking point – you don’t even bother to read or really listen to what people actually say – you just stereotype them to fit your narrow definition of how the world works according to you.

          • Mmm…no more ‘dumping’ money, talk up the successes, not tossing the Indian act, ‘accountable’ leadership…..yup. All Harp talking points.

            The sad part is that you think you can get away with it.

          • So the principle of having more accountable leadership is now somehow a bad thing in your world because apparently the PM has said the same thing ? I provided my own comments based on my own experiences and you of course simply denounce things if the PM apparently said something similar.

          • Sounds to me as though Emily wants to keep riding her specific funding gravy train instead of dumping the Indian Act, ending official apartheid and having everyone who lives in Canada treated the same way, in both responsibilities and entitlements. As Bill says, there are lots of very successful reserves where leadership is democratic, non-sexist, non-nepotistic and people don’t feel as though they’re stuck in some twilight zone. Democracy has existed in Canada for all citizens currently alive, no exceptions or limitations. It’s time to end special treatment for any group, whatever their genealogical roots. It’s time to stop determining a person’s ‘right’ to federally paid benefits based on a small fraction of their DNA heritage; it’s obscene when there’s discrimination based on skin colour and equally so when it’s based on ascribed genetic relationships. Give natives the same land ownership rights as everyone else, give bands tract ownership, and let them manage it. Let the cream rise to the surface as it will. And this includes basing health care on province of residence not by genetic mix; Ottawa doesn’t need to have a separate health administration for natives.

          • I see you’re into gimmicks too. But I have no interest in talking to someone who doesn’t know what the constitution and treaties say. Boring.

          • You’re the one into gimmicks and the government gravy train, not solutions. I know more about the Constitution and everything that went into it than you likely ever will. You don’t know about how the natives were slaughtered in the west part of the colony of Quebec by the French. You don’t know that when the Loyalists arrived in what is now Ontario, there were no longer any natives, except the many Loyalists who were natives and landed first at Deseronto and Grand River. You think the institutional racism and apartheid of the Indian Act is fine and dandy. If not, call for the end of the Indian Act and the end of Canadian apartheid. We have crushed a people with kindness, it’s time to stop the hug and give a hand up to those who need it while stopping the hand outs. Speak out, oh wise one about the grounds of obsolete treaties, and the long-gone fur economy in which they were signed. Natives deserve the right and opportunity to be landowners. let them be the only landowners in their reserves and territories and their special lands with their mythologies. Take the tyranny away from the chiefs and the male dominance. Let them and us embrace the modern economies and build futures for themselves and their peoples as many Indian tribes and individuals have done. Let them grow out of their status as wards of the state, limited by treaty and statute. You show how stuck in the past you are, wanting your income from tax dolars paid by others, but not embracing change at all. Shame on you. Charlatan.

          • Look, whether you like it or not, we have a constitution….the basic law of the land….and treaties. Signed legal contracts and obligations.

            And you can’t just toss them out when the mood strikes you, nor can you force the FN to live your way.

          • Do stop with the games Bill. This is an old gimmick, and it’s boring.

          • Games? I offered suggestions based on real world experiences from working with many First Nations communities. You choose to cop out and be dismissive and offer nothing more then the usual mandarin mantra of “education” as if that in itself will resolve the challenges. You don’t even know half of the problems with education challenges in first nation’s communities. You are typical of those who are part of the problem always defending the status quo,,,,,,

  1. TROLOLOL I have no clue what idle no more is about

    • It’s the latest protest du jour……

      • That’s one long day…going on 140 years now.

    • Click on that red link, and ask someone to read you the article.

    • With any luck, they are going to look for a job.

  2. Everybody loves baccon flavoured bacon hahahahahaha

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